I wasn't sure that I'd ever get here. But here I am!
I want to share a little about the journey for those who may be interested. And just give myself some time of reflection on this whole process. I'm a thinker - I like to reflect on how things around me influence me and what makes me the person I am today?
So let's start.
4 years ago, I decided to pursue a degree in Communication Technologies. While in college, I learned a lot about story telling and the different ways we can produce narratives with a variety of media options. One of the things I really loved was Adobe Animate. (You can see my college final project here.... it's about a Sherlock Holmes type cat detective. Enjoy.)
I've always enjoyed drawing, so for me, being able to make pictures to tell stories was fun. That short animation took 3 days of work. It's a lot of time for a 1 minute clip. I decided to try making a comic - thinking it would be faster. It is... But not by much.
When I began making comics, my art wasn't great. I hadn't practiced drawing in a long time. But over time I started improving. My first comic I published online was a Sci-fi story about a robotic girl called Space Gal Sal. People gave it kind comments but my readership didn't really grow. After a year - I only had like 40 subscribers. In my defense - I also didn't post regularly. It helps.
Images from Space Gal Sal - Characters - Page Art
My second comic endeavor was a Slice of Life comic called A Passing Whim. It was about a girl, named Whimsy, and her struggles with everyday life and depression. I had sold it as single issues through Comixology and made a few sales. I never published it on Webtoon or Tapas so never really built a readership for it. This was the first time I had started really learning how to create a comic, format a manuscript, and what publishing processes were involved. The art wasn't great - but it was the stepping stone to my next work.
Images from A Passing Whim
Then one night I came across a manga series (which I won't mention the title out of embarrassment!). I liked the cover and didn't really read the summary of the book so I went into it having no idea what I was getting into. Boy, I was surprised! Did you know, there is a genre called Boys Love!? What!?
Then Boys Love became my life.
I started reading other series and found myself greatly enjoying the romantic dramas of men. Don't ask... But there's apparently lots of people like me in this world who just gobble that stuff up. I think there's an added dynamic to LGBT stories compared to a regular heterosexual romance story. I personally like the idea that someone can love another person for their soul. That the shell is just a shell. What's inside is what matters most. Call me sappy, but I love that.
I saw an opportunity to try something new. I was going to make a Boys Love comic and share it on the same platforms I had shared Space Gal Sal.
Under the title CATFISH, I had accrued 100+ subscribers overnight. Within a year I had nearly 4000 subscribers. Between both Tapas and Line Webtoon - I have over 6000 now. My growth slowed down after I took a break due to burn out from working a regular day job and trying to do this huge time consuming project. But I never gave up.
Hooked On You was Originally Titled CATFISH
Over time - I renamed my CATFISH project - and Hooked On You officially became the work's title.
Hooked On You took a lot of time and effort - as much as a full-time job (hence the burn out mentioned above.) I'll be honest, by the end I was starting to hate it. I wanted to complete this passion project - but the time commitment was exhausting. And you don't get paid for passion projects... You do them for enjoyment - and I was enjoying it less and less. But I had this vision in the back of my mind and *bleep* it, I was going to finish it!
Last December I found myself jobless and saw a chance to finish this project. For the last few months, I have been drawing 10-14 hours a day, 5 days a week. I wish I was exaggerating. After awhile - I felt like I was on autopilot - just working to keep making progress. I've been living off of savings and now that my project is complete, know I have to get back to the daily grind soon. And I will somewhat welcome it.
Hooked On You has been a tiring endeavor. That being said - its also been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I've learned a ton about art. I've learned a new craft that I had only dreamed about doing in High School (yes - I wanted to make comics... I have one I started drawing here somewhere in the dark crevices of my attic). I've gotten to wear many hats... Artist, Editor, Publisher, Marketer... I've made a thing that usually an entire group of people make together. In comics - usually there's a different person for sketching, inking, coloring, lettering... I did it all myself. Then I also took on the more technical aspects of page layout/design. Overall - it's just a lot of work. But I'm proud of myself now that it's done and feel overwhelmingly positive about the whole experience.
Book Cover Design - Hooked On You
Now that I'm done, I'm not sure what I want to challenge myself with next. I have lots of ideas for BL stories but am not sure if I want to jump right back into making another novel. I've also considered making a visual novel game (which I know... also sounds like a lot of work). But I've played around with some programming, making some mockup ideas, and think it would be a fun new challenge for myself. I love to learn and to push myself and see what I'm capable of.
Anyways, that's a little background into how Hooked On You got started.
I hope you take the time to check out my work and, if interested, read Hooked On You on Amazon. I put a lot of myself into that project- love, blood, sweat, and tears. Now I want to sit back, relax, and reap the rewards of sharing it with others.
Right now, you can Pre-Order print copies of the complete 200 page graphic novel through a Kickstarter Campaign. Check it out.